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Indonesia jobless rate falls to 7.4 pct in Feb

JAKARTA, May 10 (Reuters) - Indonesia's unemployment rate fell to 7.41 percent in February, a level last seen in 1998, as growth in Southeast Asia's biggest economy remains strong, government data showed on Monday. The statistics bureau said in its twice-yearly report that the number of unemployed in February was 8.59 million, down from 8.86 million in August. The Indonesian economy grew 5.7 percent in the first quarter, the highest annual growth since the third quarter of 2008, supported by strong consumption, exports and investment. The strong growth data announced earlier in the day also underlined market expectations that the central bank could raise rates by the end of September. Agriculture remains the most important industry for the country's workers, accounting for about 40 percent of the labour force, followed by the trade sector that accounts for about a quarter of the labour force, the statistics bureau said. (Reporting by Adriana Nina Kusuma and Sonya Angraini; Writing by Gde Anugrah Arka, Editing by Yoko Nishikawa) ((ga.arka@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: ga.arka.reuters.com@reuters.net; +62 21 384 6364 ext 911)) Keywords: INDONESIA ECONOMY/UNEMPLOYMENT (If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to news.feedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.

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